Dropping the C Word: “I Have Cancer”

I’d never seen tears shoot straight out of someone’s face. But that changed a few weeks ago.

After bumping into a close friend at a Christmas Eve service, I decided to tell her what I’d recently learned myself: I have thyroid cancer. The news was so sudden and raw that her tears just shot right out. She grabbed my arm and declared, “You can’t just drop the C word!”

Hearing the Word “Cancer” is Hard

It had only been the week before when my doctor had dropped the C word on me. A routine checkup led to the discovery of a lump on my throat, which led to an ultrasound, which led to a biopsy, which led to the life-altering pronouncement: we found some cancer. Papillary thyroid cancer to be exact.

Over the past month my emotions have been on a roller coaster. Not the mega-thrill-ride variety, but more like the community carnival type: nothing completely overwhelming, but still enough to bring about a noticeable increase of anxiety (just ask my wife and kids!).

My variety of thyroid cancer is highly treatable, with an excellent prognosis for the future. But it’s still life changing. I’ve come to discover that the thyroid gland is a completely necessary piece of equipment, controlling the body’s energy and metabolism levels. It impacts nearly everything, from sleep and weight to the ability to concentrate. To compensate for the thyroid removal, I’ll take a hormone replacement pill every day for the rest of my life.

While all this information has taken my emotions for a ride, there have been two other C words that have more positively impacted me and deepened my experiences over these past weeks.

Compassion — What I’ve Received

As immediately shown by family and my tear-shooting friend, many have expressed genuine care and love for me. They have been a healing force, letting me know that I’m not alone. The phone calls, texts, emails, and face-to-face conversations have all been significant in evening out the low spots of my emotional roller coaster.

Three conversations in particular have helped to encourage me (literally putting courage back into me). These have been with others who’ve had similar diagnosis and surgeries, and who came to me to share their stories and to let me know I’m going to make it through this. Thank you!

Other friends have prayed over me or sent me scriptures. Craig sent me this great promise from the first verses of Isaiah 43.

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you… “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

And Dennis, a friend who is recovering from his own cancer surgery, sent me this prayer that’s been deeply meaningful to him on his journey.

O God, the source of all health: So fill my heart with faith in your love, that with calm expectancy I may make room for your power to possess me, and gracefully accept your healing, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This concept of “making room” for God’s work has become important in my own story as well. So many things want to crowd out what God is up to in my life — especially this final C word.

Control — What I’m Giving Up

The one thing this cancer diagnosis has forced me to deal with more than any other: I’m a control freak. The thought of “losing control” of my energy levels has been jarring to my psyche. I don’t want a pill to be in control. I want to be in control of my life!

Can any other control freaks relate?

But what I’ve been settling into is the truth that I’ve never fully been in control anyway. Sure, God allows each of us to shape much of our environment by the choices we make (including our relationship with him). But ultimately he is in control — and that is a good thing.

Long ago, King David penned lyrics that remind me of this reality…

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. Psalm 145:3

Not only is God in control, but he sees the big picture and his faithfulness and kindness toward us is complete. He is fully worthy of our trust no matter what we’re going through.

So, I’ve made the choice to view my pills as daily reminders that God is in control — not cancer, medication, or any other circumstance. I’m placing my life once again in his very capable and loving hands. I hope you’ll join me there.

What’s Next for Me?

  • Surgery: January 29, 2014
  • A lot more life ahead.
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90 thoughts on “Dropping the C Word: “I Have Cancer”

  1. Jeff Tolle says:

    Wow! I’m so sorry that you have to go through this, but also know that God is faithful and uses these experiences to perfect us.

    GREAT POST. I’ll be praying for you!

  2. Brook says:

    Wow. Thank you for being vulnerable. Hope is awesome. So is honesty . I am grateful to you.. And of course, praying. Hugs.

  3. Garris Elkins says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Tim. Not just from the point of vulnerability, but so that many of us who love you and your family can pray with you.

  4. Lisa Penberthy says:

    The Penberthy’s stand with you in prayer and trust God for the miraculous!

  5. Ryan Fesko says:

    The Feskos have stood where you stand, fought what you fight, and been found victorious in Jesus. Here’s to another win for Jesus. Here’s to another loss for cancer. He who has started a good work in you WILL be faithful to complete/perfect it. Count on it bro.

  6. Isaac Hovet says:


    I am praying for you. I have always respected and admired you and that only increases as I read your words.

    May the grace of the Lord continue to abound in fullness to you.

    You’re loved!

  7. Isaac Hovet says:

    Reblogged this on Just Isaac and commented:
    I admire the journey of fellow Christ followers as they wrestle through ups and downs. Tim’s perspective is helpful.

  8. r3fesko says:

    The Feskos have stood where you stand, fought what you fight, and were victorious thanks to Jesus. Here’s to another win for Jesus and another big loss for cancer. He who started a good work in you WILL be faithful to complete/perfect it. Count on it bro. We’re praying.

  9. Been through this c word the past year and totally understand and praying for you. I can tell you on the back side of this, it is truly amazing how God guides you through this. Praying.

  10. Betsey Hayford says:

    Tim, it will all turn for good! God has the number of your days already decided. And He works all things for your good. He knows the plans He has for you, to prosper and not to harm you. Jim and I will pray for your well being, The Hayford’s in WA.

  11. Abigail Hernandez Simpton says:

    Our prayers are especially lifted for you! Jehovah Rophe is your healer and in Him is our trust. Love you and your family xoxoxo

  12. Pastor Tim Irene and I will be praying for you. Remember you are a part of bible history. His story, and often we try to write a lot of it ourselves. He is the Author and the artist and has our life planned out beforehand. I have known you and you have experienced first hand my life and everything with God always has a happy ending. No weapon formed against you will succeed, Always praying for you. E
    d and Irene.

  13. Cherie Bradley says:

    Praying for you and your family Tim. The Lord will walk beside you and your family the whole way. I see a picture of him holding your hand as he walks beside you. Love you and your family a ton!

  14. Ron Isam says:

    Tim, I will be praying for you as you go through this journey. I know God is able to do exceedingly above all that we can ask or even imagine. He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion. My prayers for you will be for healing and health. I will pray for you as you go through your surgery. thanks for letting the need be made known so those who care about you can pray. Blessings my friend!

  15. Bithia Hatch says:

    I will be praying for you and yours Tim!

  16. Leslie Valenzuela says:

    Pastor Tim, wow, I stand with you in prayer and declaring His healing over you, and peace over you and your family. One of my cousins was diagnose with thyroid cancer, she had surgery and is doing good…,Our Lord is good, and He never leaves us or forsake us….. warm hugs from the D.R

  17. Chris Bayer says:

    My story is too long to comment on here except to say what God said to Gideon. When Gideon was concerned about his situation, God told him to “Go in the strength that you have.” and let Me make up for anything you lack. God’s grace is sufficient for the day. I will be praying for you, dear brother. All is well.

  18. Ben Mead says:

    Tim, you are loved my friend.

  19. Alex Michel says:

    Standing with you Tim! The raiser of the dead is the healer of the living. Faith, grace and strength to you and the family. Alex

  20. Mike Dobes says:

    Praying for you, my friend! Thank you for sharing – and know that you are loved and valuable!

  21. Mike Dobes says:

    Praying health, strength and peace for you and your family! Thank you for sharing and be encouraged that the God of the Heavens is with you in this

  22. Jim Walz says:

    Tim, thank you for your transparency and faith. Laurie and I will pray regularly for your healing, strength for your family, and comfort for you as you move through this challenging time. We love you, Bro…Jim

  23. Kristi Tuomy says:

    Tim, I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this! I do have to say though, and I know that you know, that God is in control. There is no one I’d rather have in control than Him. All of our lives are in His hands everyday and there is no sickness or harm that can change the time He has pre-ordained for us to be here. You are in my prayers and I’m asking for God’s healing, His comfort and His peace that passes all understanding. ❤

  24. Chris Fields says:

    Praying for you Tim and the whole Mossholder family, as I know it affects you all. To the Lord who heals us, “Please bring quick and COMPLETE healing Lord to this amazing man of God and mentor to myself and so many others. And Lord restore his energy and give him all the strength he needs to continue in the work you have set before him.” AMEN!

  25. Christine Dorthalina says:

    Tim, You are in the Dorthalina’s prayers. He is faithful and so good to us! As you have taught so many over the years with the Word and your own life examples, here you are continuing to teach even through this life event. May God bless you and your precious family.

  26. Larry Baker says:

    Thank you for sharing, Tim. Often our greatest ministry isn’t in how we respond to the high points of life but how we respond in the low points. Sure seems like you are off to a great start. You will be in our prayers and please let me know if my family can help in any way.

  27. Andra Soto says:

    We love you, Tim!!!

  28. Danielle Genack says:

    I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through, I will be praying for you.

  29. Theresa Bass says:

    I never knew until now. Beautiful words of God care for us from someone going through. I will remember you in pray. Much love 🙂

  30. Marie & Reggie Smith says:

    I agree with all those praying for you Tim! God’s perfect healing over you accompanied by HIS peace, comfort and presence to all of you (Kelly and Kids too) I have intercessory prayer Wed. morning – will make sure all is covered on surgery day. Reg and I Love you friend!

  31. Lovena Flaherty says:

    You are a blessing to us and the church family. I am praying for you to have peace tonight. Cancer has tempted me to be fearful in the past, but over and over I see how God makes beauty from what I see as ashes. May God bless you and keep you safe.

  32. Thomas Christensen says:

    Tim my friend,
    I was moved deeply by your post. I’m glad that we serve a God who is so much bigger than the challenges and obstacles that come our way. I’m encouraged by your attitude and I believe that His healing touch has already made you whole. I love and appreciate you so much, and
    I pray for peace and health for you and your family. You mean more than you know to me.
    Love Tom

  33. Chris Martinez says:

    Whoa Tim, as I try to type thru watery eyes I am also touched by the love and prayer already shared by many many people who like us love you and your family so much. Your blog has been a help for me, and this posting is no different. Thank you for being so transparent. I believe that C word is also compassion and control. Tim Mossholder you are so loved and ‘covered’. Ed and I stand with you and Kelly and your family.

  34. Kristin says:

    Thank you so opening up and sharing with us what you are going through. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with the same thing and it was surreal. To tell people you have cancer is very surreal. But as of today I am cancer free and feel so much better after having the surgery. My energy levels are back to normal and I feel like my old self again. I know this will be a great thing for you! You have so many people who love and are praying for you which is wonderful! Hang in there. We love you and are continuing our prayers for you!

  35. Kelly Nettle says:

    Tim, I was shocked to see this on fb, since in my mind so many of those I respect and honor just are NOT supposed to get cancer. I am a nurse and hearing the “C” word is still hard. One of the best healing’s for your soul is talking with people who have gone through this and I see you have. I fully believe that God has allowed this in your life to help you reach out to others that were…maybe…beyond your grasp before, but now are right in the middle of your circle now. I have traveled this road with many as a helper, and the richness of life that I found in the waiting areas is so inspiring. When you attend your appointments, just quietly sit and take in all your surroundings and let the Holy Spirit speak to you. He will reveal amazing things to you. Bless you my friend and brother. You are loved by sooooo many!

  36. Tim Harwick says:

    Tim. My Friend, my Brother, my Mentor, my Captain. My heart and prayers are with you.

    Man of faith rise up and sing
    Of the great and glorious king
    You are strong when you feel weak
    In your brokenness complete

    Love you bro, talk to you soon.

  37. Desiree Henderson says:

    I have decided that hearing the “C” word diagnosis is equal to getting a nuke dropped on your life. Lots of crud gets blown up and there is a chance to see what remains. If I have learned anything during my daughter’s surgeries and chemo it’s this….1)God is going to do what God is going to do and I have to wrap myself around Him instead trying to “make” things happen the way I want (as if I could anyways) 2) To humble myself and accept others help even though its uncomfortable.

    I pray that God will bring you and your family a peace that surpasses all understanding. That any physical scars and reminders of this time will be like an old school testament altar to remind you of God’s love and faithfulness. Love you guys!

  38. Michael Robles says:

    Hey Tim – you don’t know me but we’ve met a couple of times through mutual friends. Mid-last year I underwent brain surgery and while I was in the hospital, my wife and I pretty much camped-out on this verse. It encouraged us both everyday and I hope it will do the same for you:

    “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” – Psalm 27:13

    The battle is already won..

  39. Jeniel McMahon says:

    Hi Tim! Praying for you as you go through this journey! My father-in-law over a year ago was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma and went through chemotherapy and stem cell transplant but his attitude through the tough and good moments were awesome! He loves the Lord with all his heart and I saw hope, courage, believing in God’s promises for his life no matter what and surrendering day by day his will for God’s will in his life! He is a great example for others who struggle with cancer as I am sure you will and are too! That was a great blog that you wrote and he would agree with everything you said! Lots of prayers and having a great support group of friends and family can do wonders! God bless you and praying for the surgery to go well!

    Jeniel McMahon (Jeniel King)

  40. sean appleton says:

    Tim, praying that this journey you and Kelly are on would be full of gracious and loving touches from the Savior.

  41. Lydia Carswell says:

    Like your friend, Chris, I type this with much emotion and watery eyes….never expected to read something like this. Know that your Cali friend is joining you in prayer and trust in the Lord that all will be well…My love to you, Kelly and the family. You are so loved by so many….and so blessed!!

  42. Melinda says:

    We are lifting you and the whole family up in prayer. We love you and count it a privilege to serve Jesus with you for many years to come! So wonderful to see so many with you in prayer! Love, Melinda and Jim

  43. Cynthia Marcione says:

    I just read this blog without realizing that it was you who was writing. Tears sprang to my eyes also, when I realized that it was you who was writing. Thank you for your transparency, and for sharing your life. I will be praying and expecting a the Lord to do miraculous work. You are much loved.

  44. Terry & Beth says:

    Hey Tim so sorry to hear about the challenge which has entered your body. Know our Prayers for healing are being lifted up by the Rostek’s for you, and the family. May I recommend a song for encouragement–Hillsong Healer on You Tube. Be filled with His Healing Power

  45. Carol Howell says:

    Dear Tim,

    I am sorry to hear this news. I was just reading about Braeden’s need and wishing I lived closer to west LA and then I came across this! I am praying with you. May God soak you with his healing presence in your recovery time. God is good all the time.

  46. Dillon says:

    Tim, stand strong my friend. God is faithful and I’m confident He will be seen strong in this circumstance. Thanks for having the courage to share something so personal. The Kingdom needs you and more like you to model how to journey in grace when your world in jarred in an instant. Praying for tomorrow.

  47. Mark Yeager says:

    Praying for you! So great to see God’s family lift up you, Kelly and the kids. You are greatly loved!

  48. Ralph Devin says:

    Got your update about surgery from HR and was encouraged; praying for you. Was driving into work this morning and the pickup in front of me had a military patch in the window with the motto “nec aspera terrent” – latin for “no fear on earth”. A great motto for the 27th Infantry Regiment, but also a great motto for us as Christians – encouraging you and Kelly to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might!

  49. mattwimberly says:

    Praying for you brother!

  50. Ed Underwood says:

    I just found your blog through a comment you put on mine. I’m so sorry. I lived this: http://edunderwood.com/books/when-god-breaks-your-heart/ If I can help in any way, please let me know.

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